Early Childhood Education Funders Collaborative

In June 2011, fourteen funders established the Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative (ECFC) to support the state’s legislatively-mandated two-year planning process to create a coordinated system of early care and education. The legislation provided a long-awaited opportunity for state-level, systemic improvement in early care and education, and the two-year timeline provided a catalyst for the funders to act together pooling funding and knowledge in an effort to advance fundamental changes in the way Connecticut supports young children and their families.

ECFC includes funders from across the state including community, private and corporate foundations. It was formed under the auspices of the CT Council for Philanthropy which serves as fiscal sponsor and a critical link to national philanthropic networks and knowledge.

From June 2011-June 2013, ECFC partnered with the state on many aspects of the planning process that ultimately led to the creation of the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) in May 2014. Philanthropy’s access to knowledge networks and its ability to provide timely assistance were essential in bringing national experts to help identify options for structuring state programs and services. Based on the information developed by the ECFC supported consultant, the state chose to establish a separate independent office bringing together programs and staff from five different state agencies in an effort to align services for the benefit of young children and their families.

Recognizing that OEC was only one part of an evolving early childhood system, the funders decided to continue to work together on an ongoing basis. The mission of the Collaborative was established at that time: “To bring the collective voice and resources of philanthropy to build and sustain a comprehensive early childhood system that works for all children, families, communities and the workforce in Connecticut.”

To learn more about the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative go to https://www.ctphilanthropy.org/collaborative

Connecticut Council for Philanthropy

The Fund for Greater Hartford is a member of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy. In 1969, the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy was started as the Coordinating Council for Foundations, serving the Greater Hartford community, by Jack Riege of the Knox Foundation, William Connelly of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Sam Fuller with the Answorth Foundation at Hartford National Bank, Bill Graulty at Connecticut Bank & Trust Company, Allyn Bernard of United Bank, Dick Suisman of the Suisman Foundation, and Jerry Bartholomew of the Howard and Bush Foundation.

They were quickly joined by the Barnes Foundation, the Auerbach Foundation, the Koopman and Schiro Funds, the Hartford Courant Foundation and the Hartford National Bank.

Bob Merriman was the organization’s executive director, and the first-year budget was $25,000 funded by grants from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the founding foundations.

Their foresight in seeing the need for such an organization was rewarded when, shortly thereafter, the Tax Reform Act of 1969 was signed into law by President Nixon as a response to reports of foundation misuses of business holdings, failures to distribute funds for charitable purposes, self-dealing and other abuses. The act had a major impact on private philanthropy. It introduced a new classification system that sharply distinguished between ‘private foundations’ and other charitable organizations. For private foundations it also introduced a new regulatory system, new regulatory sanctions, a new tax on investment income and new restrictions on the deductibility of property gifts.

The newly created Council enabled its members to act as a group to make sure that negative observations of the foundation field would not apply to them, and that requests for funding would be answered quickly and equitably. In 1997, with support from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the United Way of Greater New Haven and others, the Council expanded to serve Greater New Haven, and in 1999, the Council changed its name to the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, recognizing its statewide service.

Despite all the changes over the years, some things remain the same. The public sector is still calling for accountability and transparency for private foundations and the Council is still providing a voice for philanthropy and a place where funders learn from each other and work together.

Exponent Philanthropy

The Fund for Greater Hartford is a member of Exponent Philanthropy. Exponent Philanthropy is the country’s largest association of funders—nearly 2,200 members strong—and the only one dedicated to serving foundations with few or no staff, philanthropic families, and individual donors. Their network has in common lean operations and a style of philanthropy motivated by personal passion, community needs, and the strong desire for better outcomes. They provide high-quality and cost-effective programs, resources, and connections that maximize our members’ dollars and time for the benefit of diverse communities and causes.



The mission of SEL4CT is to empower Connecticut children of all ages to thrive in school and life by supporting effective social and emotional learning programs, policies, and practices in communities throughout the state. https://sel4ct.org/


We envision a future where:

  • Connecticut communities, schools, and families serve as centers of safe, caring, and supportive activity where young people succeed academically and develop the life skills necessary to solve problems, manage emotions, and form positive relationships with others.
  • Adults are empathetic, resilient, culturally aware, compassionate, and responsive.
  • Opportunities for parents, caregivers, educators, support teams (such as therapists and social workers), and the community at large to learn about, support, and participate in activities to strengthen social emotional learning.


Our strategic goals are to:

  1. Build statewide awareness for SEL and related approaches.
  2. Advocate for state and local SEL-related policies and funding.
  3. Provide opportunities for SEL stakeholders, including educators, child care providers, administrators, youth, parents, educator preparation programs, policymakers, community organizations, afterschool programs, businesses, and SEL providers to learn about and share SEL advocacy, research, theory and best practices.
  4. Connect a broad range of SEL stakeholders to coordinate and support implementation across the state.

What’s Ahead

SEL4CT is just getting started and we need your help and support! Learn more about our upcoming meetings and how you can get involved. Questions? Ideas? Contact us